Shocking Peters Snub for Jack Adams

The Jack Adams Award is awarded each year to a NHL head coach and could be simply stated as given to the “Coach of the Year.” According to, “the Jack Adams Award is an annual award presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters’ Association to the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.” This year the voters left out a coach who, in my opinion, should have definitely been a finalist. Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters should be on the list. I was shocked to hear that he was not.

Yes, These Three are Deserving

The announcement of the three finalists for the Jack Adams Award was made on Thursday May 5th. The finalists are Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz and Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant. My assertion that Peters should have been one of the three is in no way intended to diminish any of the coaches named as finalists. The three are each deserving in their own right, having guided their teams to spots in the playoffs with excellent regular season success.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz guided his team to the President’s Trophy, their season remarkable in its consistent dominance. The Caps ran away from the pack, chalking up 120 points on a franchise record 56 wins and only 18 losses. Trotz had a veteran group on the ice, which certainly helped – Alexander Ovechkin being one of the world’s best. Trotz deserves to be in the running for the Jack Adams.

Even opposing coaches and some players give Trotz the nod. CSN Midatlantic quoted Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek as saying,

“With Trotz, when you look at it, it’s the best team in the league and it’s pretty easy to give it to him.”

CSN also referenced a Coach of the Year poll that TSN conducted wherein Trotz was the favorite. He deservedly has the respect of his peers and players in the league because of his team’s success.

Jack Adams finalists
(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Lindy Ruff can also stake a claim on the Jack Adams Award. Taking the Stars from 10th place in the Western Conference last season to the playoffs and second overall in the NHL in points is quite the accomplishment. The Stars are a legitimately good team in no small part to the coaching influence of Ruff. With uncertainty at the goalie position, Ruff used his best instincts to guide his team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Although currently down 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues, Ruff’s team cannot be counted out yet.

SportsDay quotes Stars GM Jim Nill as saying Ruff deserves to be a finalist:

“He handled everything right. He had some challenges, and he handled the ups and down. We had a slump, but he got out us out of it and the team responded. It was really a great season for him.”

The Stars’ season was without a doubt a complete turnaround from last season. Rick Gosselin wrote in another SportsDay post that Ruff’s move back to Kari Lehtonen in Game 4 versus the St. Louis Blues was a shrew coaching move that provides more evidence that Ruff worthy of being considered for the Jack Adams Award.

Gerard Gallant steered his Panthers to the playoffs. After missing the playoffs in three years with the Columbus Blue Jackets, and last year with the Panthers, Gallant was able to bring his team up the standings to win the Atlantic Division. The team’s 103 points was third best in the Eastern Conference.

Gallant seems to be coming into his own as a head coach. Of course the team’s talent has improved. David Gove at Last Word on Sports wrote,

“His is a story of not only an improving roster but perhaps his maturing into the coach people thought he would be earlier.”

The finalists had not yet been named when Gove wrote his predictions on who they would be, but he makes the case the Gallant has earned a spot. It’s tough to disagree, especially with the strides the Panthers have made, not just getting into the playoffs, but doing so in commanding fashion. Of course, they were bounced by the New York Islanders in six games, but Gallant coached them to a great season and can make a case for being a finalist for the Jack Adams Award.

Jack Adams Award Case for Peters

Hurricanes coach Peters was in his second year as a NHL head coach this season. His team started out in similar fashion to the way they played last year, not too good. In late December 2015, ‘Canes GM called up a bunch of young guys after a horrid loss to the New Jersey Devils. These “young guns” as I have glossed them, came up to NHL ice and wanted to play. And play they did, learning Peters’ system and playing tough hockey night after night.

Peters had to deal with the cloud of Eric Staal’s contract uncertainty, and eventually with Staal’s departure. But, he kept coaching and came within a frog’s hair of getting this team of young players into the playoffs. If the Jack Adams Award is given to the coach that has contributed to his team’s success, then Peters’ name should be in the top three as a finalist.

The Hurricanes don’t have a Jagr, or a Crosby or an Ovechkin. They have a team that is essentially in a huge rebuild. Peters coached the very last ounce of effort these guys had and almost pulled off a spot in the playoffs. In my mind, that is worthy of at least being in the conversation for the Jack Adams Award.

By the way, Hockey Canada announced Peters will serve as the head coach for Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Championship, to be held from May 6-22 in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Russia. I wouldn’t bet against him.